Friday, December 3, 2010

Israeli Emergency Management

The 1967 Arab-Israeli War (or Six Day War) was an unexpected and decisive victory for the Israeli military. Ever since, the Israeli military has enjoyed the reputation of being the toughest, best trained and best equipped military in the region. The Israeli government has heavily funded the military as a way of discouraging neighboring nations from attacking the lone Jewish state. Viewed from a political or military perspective, this plan seems to have achieved the goal of preventing major military actions against Israel (although this same approach could be argued as to why there are some many terrorist bombings).

The forest fire on Mount Carmel highlights when your attention becomes so focused on one thing, preventing military attack, other equally destructive events get neglected. The article points out that Israel only has 1 firefighter per 10,000 instead of the recommended 1 per 1,000. International firefighter associations feel such a low ratio means Israel is extremely unprepared to deal with a major fire (which the Mount Carmel fire is proving). Because of the political and theological differences Israel has with its neighboring nations, there is no Emergency Management Compact or even mutual aid compact with Syria, Jordan or Egypt (which are all nations Israel has had conflicts with over the years).

However, even if Israel had a different relationship with is neighbors it still would be faced with a problem of an overwhelming disaster that requires an emergency management system that it simply doesn't have. Emergency management is not sexy and doesn't nothing to protect you from a military attack. But as the earthquake in Haiti has proven, a system needs to be in place to prepare citizens how to respond during an emergency. The same system is critical to the recovery after a major disaster. Perhaps the Mount Carmel fire will do something none of the enemies of Israel could ever do.

Link here

No comments: